Thursday, May 8, 2008

Running in the Rain

When I left off yesterday I was headed home for a run on the treadmill as the rain was coming down pretty good. Once I arrived home, I had a change of heart and decided that I would venture outside. There was a time when I would never miss an opportunity to run outside. The temperatures would have to be brutal or some other legitimate reason surface for me to run inside. But in recent times, I will defer to the treadmill with pretty weak excuses. It’s too cold, it’s too windy, it’s too snowy, it’s too nice! I have used just about every reason imaginable to stay inside. Now most runners find the treadmill about as appealing as a colonoscopy, but I don’t mind it (the treadmill!). Although given the number of the latter I have had since age 45 you might begin to think I enjoy those as well. Trust me on this one, I don’t!!
Running inside is efficient, easy to gauge your effort, and truly mindless. I just set up a good play list on the iPod, fill up some water bottles and off I go. I have run 18 – 20 miles on the treadmill, which would have most runners sticking sharp objects in their eyes. But on this day my memory went back to the days when a run in the rain was something I really enjoyed.
So with that I suited up appropriately to weather the rain. This is when it hit me that perhaps the current state of my running apparel might be part of my resistance to run outside. When I dug out my 1989 model Asics running jacket I noticed that it was quite thread bare in places. Angela had bought this for me prior to my first Boston Marathon. It still has the Canadian flag lapel pin the Canadian Consulate gave everyone at the reception they had for the runners that year!
Anyway I managed to throw together some clothes to make the trek outside and headed out the door. Now when ever you run in any type of wet weather you are sure to get your feet wet. And given Murphy’s Law, that will happen in the first ½ mile of your run. Sure enough, as I gingerly dodged the puddles and hopped over the apparently wet spots, I landed in a grassy area that saturated both feet. Now I remember why I like the treadmill, no wet feet! Oh well, suck it up, you’re getting soft I tell myself.
Now that my feet are wet I decide that running on the trails is a viable option. I’m wet already and I always like trail running over the roads anytime, even though it is slower. A left turn and I am onto the ridge overlooking the Athabasca River and surprisingly the trail is in not bad condition. By now I have covered a little over a mile and everything is starting to settle in. The rain is coming down pretty good and the fog has blanketed the mountains on the other side of the river, but I am enjoying this. It’s coming back to me why I used to enjoy the rain.
I continue along the ridge, across the highway, and up the other side to catch the other end of the trail on the ridge. Everything is going well, my pace is okay, a little slow, but that is normal for this run. The trail has a lot of good inclines and there are some spots that are a little tricky for footing so you can’t break any speed records. As I run along the trail I get within about 50 yards of a mule deer who still doesn’t make me. Rather than startle him / her I chose another path and continue on. The rest of the run out is good, but a wee bit muddy. My shoes are starting to accumulate mud on them and they are getting quite heavy. At the 3.5 mile mark I decide to turn and head for home. By this time I am really soaked and I will be satisfied with a run of 6 to 7 miles.
The run back is uneventful with the exception of a couple of grouse that decided to run right in front of me. I felt like Rocky when Mickey is training him to try and catch the chickens. Alas I don’t catch them, but I think I could have.
The last mile and a half is a literal slog as my feet are water logged and I have enough mud on my shoes to make them a size 12 triple E from the size 9 that I started with. I have an option to cut a half a mile off and make it 6.5 and decide that will be what I do.
Once I get home I feel good about having forced myself out, because you know, it wasn’t that bad!
The picture indicates how wet I did get. Today, May 8, 2008, we have at least 10 cms of soaking wet snow. The roads are closed and every trip out is a challenge. I was supposed to go to the city for an awards dinner but I decided earlier in the week that I was not going. Hopefully this mess is cleared up by tomorrow.

Here I am post run, soaked to the skin!
Anyone for a drink on the deck! Here is what it looked like tonight at 5:00 PM. Winter please go away.
Tonight's workout was a 1:20, 24.4 mile time trial workout. Brutal!
Have a great day!


Love2Run said...

You had company in spirit. I ran 6 miles in the pouring rain here today. It was cold until I got warmed up by picking up the pace.

Keith power said...

Well here in SUNNY Ontario, I had a very enjoyable 10 miler in shorts an a t-shirt.